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Note To Criminals — Don't Call Tech Support

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the caught-short dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 266

Billosaur writes "Darwin Awards, here he comes: Ars Technica has up a story about a would-be identity thief who did himself in by calling tech support about printer drivers. Timothy Short must have thought he'd hit the mother-lode when he stole a PC and a Digimarc printer from the Missouri Department of Revenue, perhaps with dreams of cranking out thousands of fake ids. Problem: he could not unlock the computer he stole and without the necessary drivers, he couldn't use the printer. Ever resourceful, Short called Digimarc tech support a couple of days later (twice), which brought him to the attention of a Secret Service agent, who recognized his voice from a recording of the calls. Short now faces a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison."

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Ha. (1, Funny)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091247)

I wonder how far he would have gotten printing those IDs, even with the driver...

At least that's one petty thief removed for the good of everyone.

Re:Ha. (1, Insightful)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091545)

Considering his apparent IQ, I'd say not very far at all. The guy's such an absolute moron he almost qualifies for "evil genius" status. Why are evil geniuses always so dumb anyway?

Re:Ha. (5, Funny)

xaxa (988988) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092343)

I think he's outdone by the the Chinese gang who took £26billion of fake English notes [timesonline.co.uk] (in the non-existant £500,000 denomination) to the Bank of England and asked for it in current currency. How stupid do you have to be to take fake, non-existant currency to the Bank of England to convert it to current money? That's the central bank in England, and issues all the currency.

It Takes More Than Just Technology... (4, Funny)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092517)

I remember a few years back when a group of preps and jocks from the local private school were busted for selling fake IDs. These kids' mommies and daddies had their bank accounts stuffed well enough for them to afford to properly produce, en mass, said IDs. The fakes were so perfectly manufactured that the only way anyone ever caught on is that the drunken little snobs failed to spell "license" correctly!

oblig. (3, Funny)

Shteven (1137821) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091265)

<neilson>haha</neilson>

Re:oblig. (5, Funny)

mw13068 (834804) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091297)

Invalid markup!

Ha ha!

Re:oblig. (5, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091327)

there should be a word for someone who has only ever made one logged in comment at slashdot and completely failed it in the process.

Re:oblig. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21091369)

There is: Shteven

Re:oblig. (4, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091419)

before this day is over, I will tell someone 'You just pulled a shteven'. Yeah- my entertainment threshold is just that low.

Re:oblig. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21092313)

Ohh god, a new meme.

Re:oblig. (1)

blackC0pter (1013737) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091755)

I'm living proof... oh shoot, that makes 2 comments. Tech support!

Re:oblig. (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091647)

cockpuppet

Re:oblig. (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091803)

Come on homeless - that was just for fun. No need to get the hackles up.

Re:oblig. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21091831)

I like how he also managed to spell "Nelson" wrong. That kind of losership requires true talent. :-)

Re:oblig. (4, Funny)

foobsr (693224) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092257)

losership

Even Google thinks 'Did you mean: leadership [google.com] '. Maybe failing miserably comes in handy these days.

CC.

Re:oblig. (-1, Offtopic)

AstoundingGrr (1177023) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092451)

It's a wonderful thing that your markup comment is rated +5 Funny, while the Parent is only +4 Funny as I write this. Mods, I love you guys.

Re:oblig. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21091409)

You spelled Nelson wrong dingleberry!!!

Shteven, please consider bidding on the low /. UID (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21092239)

How cool would it be if

<neilson>haha</neilson>
was posted by Shteven (28) [slashdot.org] ?

Did the printer castrate him? (5, Insightful)

evildarkdeathclicheo (978593) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091289)

Um, Darwin awards? Unfortunately, criminals are still allowed to procreate and spread their genes. So unless he's either dead or rendered an eunuch, we're still screwed. -W

Re:Did the printer castrate him? (1)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091337)

There are two things that are infinite; the universe and human stupidity. And I'm not so sure about the universe...

Re:Did the printer castrate him? (0, Offtopic)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091379)

"Um, Darwin awards? Unfortunately, criminals are still allowed to procreate and spread their genes. So unless he's either dead or rendered an eunuch, we're still screwed. -W"

Well, if he gets the 10 years in PMITA prison, he isn't going to be procreating during that time, and when he gets out, he'll probably be the next "hello.jpg". Sounds to me like the only spreading he'll do will be his jeans, not his genes.

Re:Did the printer castrate him? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21091677)

You forgot the infamous "Conjugal Visit" (or you just don't get any and are bitter about it)...

Re:Did the printer castrate him? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091383)

I think the level of stupidity involved shows that he is a good potential candidate at some point in the future. He'll either get himself killed in prison, waxing rhapsodic about the good old days of segregation in the south - or go out in flaming glory shortly after prison, immediately after uttering the timeless words, "Bubba, watch this!"

Re:Did the printer castrate him? (3, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091411)

Not all dumb people are criminals. Well, not unless being stupid is outlawed.

Re:Did the printer castrate him? (2, Funny)

s.bots (1099921) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091685)

unless being stupid is outlawed.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, except for idiots."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood, and laugh at the stupidity that was once rampant our nation.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of idiocy, will be transformed into an oasis of intelligence.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their minds.
I have a dream today.

Re:Did the printer castrate him? (2, Insightful)

Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- (624050) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091695)

We can dream of that future.

Re:Did the printer castrate him? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21091439)

Unfortunately, it's ideas that can't be killed, genes don't have that much to do with it.

Re:Did the printer castrate him? (1)

grumpyman (849537) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091617)

Um, Darwin awards? Unfortunately, criminals are still allowed to procreate and spread their genes. So unless he's either dead or rendered an eunuch, we're still screwed. -W


Maybe the printer splits lead-based particles into the air?

Re:Did the printer castrate him? (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091811)

If prison decreases his likelihood of spreading his genes, epigenes, or memes, he has failed in the modern evolutionary sense.

I'm guessing it is hard to find fertile women in prison, and even harder to pass on your own stupid ideas to your children if they exist, since you only see them for an hour per week.

Re:Did the printer castrate him? (4, Funny)

twistedcubic (577194) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091833)

He probably suffers from lead poisoning, that's all. No need to trample on the disabled.

Re:Did the printer castrate him? (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091925)

This is just the try-out round for the Darwin playoffs. It would be senseless to get killed or castrated and then find out that what he did wasn't dumb enough to win the award. He's saving the spectacularly stupid death for later. "Stupid done smart": motto for the high tech criminal.

Prison ass sex (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21092231)

Well, prison ass sex does not yield viable offspring, so it isn't SO far off base....

idiot. (4, Insightful)

andreyvul (1176115) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091295)

use driverguide or google, ya moron!

Fake ID's (3, Funny)

jcicora (949398) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091325)

Geez, talk about a close call for people living in Misery...I mean Missouri

Re:Fake ID's (2, Funny)

JK_the_Slacker (1175625) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091697)

I've got a news flash for him: I'm from Missouri. Nobody outside the state knows it exists, and everybody in the state knows each other. Either way, nobody would have believed he was who he said he was anyway.

Note: St. Louis doesn't count. They seceded years ago.

Re:Fake ID's (2, Funny)

cromar (1103585) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091919)

Oh, I didn't know you were on here, JK. How's your mom?

-A fellow Missourian

Missouri (2, Funny)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091977)

I don't get it, can you Show Me?

Why ?? (5, Interesting)

Saija (1114681) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091343)

Why the Department of Revenue uses a laptop with sensitive information, making easier to stole than a desktop?
Inquiring minds want to know...

Re:Why ?? (1, Offtopic)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091615)

I'm guessing from your comment history that Spanish is your first language. You say you have an inquiring mind - so I hope you wont take offense if I point out that your question would have been better phrased this way - "Why would the Department of Revenue use a laptop with sensitive information, making it easier to steal than a desktop?"

My Spanish is extremely rudimentary. My French isn't much better. I certainly couldn't do as well as you have here, on a board that wasn't English. Just thought you might appreciate the tip.

Re:Why ?? (3, Insightful)

Saija (1114681) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091709)

Right spanish is my native language and thanks for the tip.
Muchas gracias viejo !

Re:Why ?? (2, Informative)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092421)

You say you have an inquiring mind - so I hope you wont take offense if I point out that your question would have been better phrased this way - "Why would the Department of Revenue use a laptop with sensitive information, making it easier to steal than a desktop?"


Or "Why would the Department of Revenue use a laptop for sensitive information, making it easier to steal than a desktop?" since the type of computer equipment in the frame of usage is the subject, not the equipment itself with the modifier of sensitive information being on it.

A far better sentence would have been "Why would the Department of Revenue keep sensitive information on a laptop, where it is easier to steal, than on a desktop?"

Re:Why ?? (2, Informative)

Major Blud (789630) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091619)

Same reason anyone uses a laptop; mobility. Revenue employees need to take data out of the office and into the field to conduct on-site audits and make collections. I work with a State revenue agency that was really worried about losing one of these laptops. They just got through implementing a third-party encryption scheme to protect the data on the hard drives from prying eyes.

Re:Why ?? (1)

dhasenan (758719) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092199)

Well, they could just, y'know, PURGE the data once it's been transferred to the central servers. Still need encryption for the duration of each trip, but that's a much smaller potential loss.

Re:Why ?? (1)

Fizzl (209397) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091629)

Now seriously. Would you consider a dektop instead of a laptop a security feature?

Re:Why ?? (1)

RincewindTVD (1011435) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092363)

Because the desktop is behind 2 reception desks and one swipe-card door and weighs 12kg and someone will notice if you walk out with it.
The laptop is 2kg, and in a briefcase next to the guy in the cafe, he's the one sitting just by the door busy looking at the hot punk coffee girl.

Which of these two computers is easier to pick up in a spur of the moment theft... and which is easier to pick up in a planned theft?

Re:Why ?? (1)

MoriaOrc (822758) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092397)

Against someone like this, it might be. Seriously, do you have any idea how many people don't know how to plug in a desktop computer? Power, Monitor, Monitor power, Mouse, Keyboard. That's a lot of plugs!

Re:Why ?? (1)

KEnderK (1171753) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092445)

Yes

Re:Why ?? (2, Insightful)

Neanderthal Ninny (1153369) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091659)

Where do you see in the article that this was a laptop? The article always says "PC" so it appears to be a desktop or workstation. A better question how in the world did he steal this large set up. I seen one of these things for mid-scale ID production from my former workplace and it is not small so he must of had some help and a very large truck or SUV to steal it.

Re:Why ?? (2, Interesting)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092145)

It's easy to steal a desktop from a public building. It happened in a local hospital. Two guys dressed in work clothes walked in, found an empty office, took away the desktop and walked out with it. Thankfully they didn't have to worry about opening the door while carrying the equipment. The security guard did that for them!!!

Low IQ... (5, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091347)

Probably used too much leaded gasoline [slashdot.org] when he was younger.

Re:Low IQ... (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091663)

Probably used too much leaded gasoline when he was younger.

No, that's only a valid defense for violent criminals. Now, if he'd taken the printer and bashed in the tech guy's head with it...

Re:Low IQ... (3, Funny)

blackcoot (124938) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091743)

there isn't a jury around that wouldn't buy a temporary insanity plea in that case.

not that i have a raging psychotic hatred for dell tech support.

Re:Low IQ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21091857)

Nah, he ate too much Nair as a kid and he came up "short Short"...

Re:Low IQ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21091987)

If he keeps that up he will be a tiny tim.... rimshot!

In the realms of funny.... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21091359)

...My current province of residence uses a standard Fargo ID printer to crank out Driver's Licenses. I happen to have a Fargo printer for my current workplace.

It would take NOTHING in terms of effort to crank out fake ID's - hell, the province in question (at least at this point) doesn't even use any fort of hologram or anything to secure the ID.

I mean, this guy is braindead for calling for tech support to use his stolen goods - but at least through his stupidity & security measures they caught him. If I was an ass, I could easily crank off what I wanted to without anyone being the wiser.

(Posted as AC, not because I do anything wrong, but I'd rather not have anyone realize the stupidity of this province & take advantage of it just out of my location in profile)

Re:In the realms of funny.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21091559)

You must mean the province of 'Canada'?

Re:In the realms of funny.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21091875)

No, that's a state.

Re:In the realms of funny.... (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091887)

Howie Mandel [imdb.com] related this story in a stand-up routine on HBO in the 1980s (while he was still on St. Elsewhere [imdb.com] ). Searches didn't produce the bit, so here it is from my memory. Historical note: apparently at the time, Canadian driver's license weren't photo-bearing ID, or at least his wasn't:

I needed a US bank to apply for an account or else I wouldn't get paid in the US. The lady behind the bank counter said, "I need to see your ID," so I give her my Canadian driver's license. She gives it back to me saying, "No, I need something with a picture on it," so I took it back and drew a little picture on it. No, no, wait, wait! Then she said, "I'm sorry, sir, but that's not good enough," and I said, "What, do I need to be a fucking artist to get an account here?"

Re:In the realms of funny.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21092101)

Could you make an ID for me, please? Due to me not wanting to be found out, I am posting this as Anonymous Coward.

Please mail to the following address:

Elwood Blues
1060 W Addison St
Chicago, IL 60613

Funny - But still in the gene pool (2, Informative)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091415)

This is funny, really funny. But it's not Darwin funny which unless I'm mistaken are feats of stupidity which remove you from the gene pool. Stealing a ID printer and asking for drivers, to make fake IDs, while funny it isn't as funny as trying to steal the legs off an abandoned yet erect water tower.

Got it... thanks for the help. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21091443)

I never understood why we have stories that help criminals figure out how to avoid mistakes. I mean was the poster wanting a good fake id, but can't now cause this guy got caught? Sure it was a dumb mistake and it's kinda funny, but c'mon... why keep showing how people are getting caught. This only makes criminals more cunning and elusive to catch.

won't help (2, Insightful)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091643)

Well that would be true if, as shown on TV and movies, criminals are fiendishly clever Snidely Whiplashes, twirling their thin mustaches slowly as they ponder deeply the implications of their next criminal caper.

But they're not. Pretty much anyone with an IQ above 90 figures out before he's 12 that crime does not pay, in the long run, and he goes into other lines of business as an adult. That doesn't mean he has to give up being antisocial or deploying his uglier personality traits to advantage, of course. Would-be rapists and contract murderers can become divorce lawyers, bullshit artists and con-men can go into subprime lending or telemarketing, and so forth. You can be a very successful legitimate businessman instead of a crook with some fairly small adjustments in your choice of victim and methodology.

So as a rule those we have left in the actual criminal class tend to be irredeemably stupid, the kind who pull stunts like this -- and who would not learn anything useful by reading the story, since they lack the ability to generalize the lesson.

Re:won't help (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21091853)

Pretty much anyone with an IQ above 90 figures out before he's 12 that crime does not pay, in the long run, and he goes into other lines of business as an adult.

No, it's because they think it's wrong. Many forms of crime do pay well.

Many IT people know a great deal about identity theft, how hard it is to catch, have access to lots of data, and know how to cover their tracks pretty well. It's also a nonviolent offense so you'll probably get off lightly if caught.

Re:won't help (2, Insightful)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092291)

Many forms of crime do pay well.

Not if you subtract the penalties. For example, running 10 kg of coke at a time across the Mexican border pays very well. At first. But you'd very quickly come to the attention of the relevant authorities (the existing Mexican drug gangs) and be flayed alive and fed to dogs as an example to others. Intelligent people realize making $10 million with a day's work doesn't compensate for the risk of being eaten by dogs before you celebrate your 25th birthday.

You won't be able to think of a good counterexample, by the way, because society is so constructed that any activity which is highly profitable, can be engaged in by most anyone, and is insufficiently noxious to really piss people off is legal or at least quasi-legal (meaning perhaps only technically illegal). Why would it be otherwise? You think our ancestors were not able to dream up pretty much every conceivable scam and method of gathering power and influence (which is all money is)? The basic questions of what fundamental activities are and are not tolerable have been settled for centuries, if not millenia.

All that happens is that technology changes, and briefly enables old scams to surface under new disguises. It takes a little while for people to figure out how to categorize the new activity, but they do, and then it gets filed either under legitimate (if sometimes unsavory) business or crime that gets seriously punished. No doubt the length of time this takes enables a few lucky (?) entrepreneurs to retire rich while the issue is still in flux, but they won't be leaving the business to their children. So it's a dead end, if you're at all intelligent.

Many IT people know a great deal about identity theft...

And so what stops them from becoming identity thieves...? Their Christian consciences? The good of the many outweighs the good of the one? Please. I realize this is /. and all, where we venerate the geek, but don't make me laugh coffee out my nose.

The reason IT people don't become identity thieves is because they can make a better living as IT managers. Not just in terms of plain salary but in terms of the pleasure of good work-related company (it's hard to get invited to parties with pleasant looking, sweet-natured, single women if you're a sneak and a thief), and in not having to look over your shoulder all the time.

Of course, I don't deny many of them might not have Walter Mitty daydreams of running up the Jolly Roger and turning piratical, slitting a couple of throats over in marketing and force sundry managers to walk the plank. Who doesn't?

Re:won't help (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091939)

You have that wrong. It's not that the people with IQs over 90 figure out that crime does not pay. They are just better at picking which crimes they can commit without going to jail. I have yet to meet an adult that has not committed some kind of crime and gotten away with it.

Re:won't help (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092395)

That's just because you're overloading the "crime" operator. You are taking stuff that is more reasonably characterized as "being a public nuisance" like driving 45 in a school zone and lumping it in with stuff that your neighbors would kill you immediately for, laws or no laws, like child rape. It's only in the sense that this is all "crime," technically, that lets you make such a broad statement.

As for your larger point: the "crimes" you can commit without (ever) going to jail, or suffering some other such serious negative social pressure from your friends and neighbors, are basically not really crimes at all. They may well be technically illegal, but that just shows that what is right and wrong is more subtle than what is legal and not.

I suppose it's important to distinguish between "crime" meaning something that is against the law and "crime" (as in "crime against humanity") meaning that which is widely believed to be evil and which people will instinctively resent and punish, laws or no laws.

Re:won't help (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092489)

I would accept either, but you are right that they should be distinguished between. If we go with the version of "crime" that you suggest, then I would not say that most people have committed them, but then you have to look at all of the CEOs and other corporate types that make huge amounts of money without ever needing to fear the consequences on a regular basis.

Re:Got it... thanks for the help. (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092379)

Yeah, all laws, prisons and police should be secret and all trials be held in the Star Chamber.

idiot

I doubt it was encrypted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21091449)

Odds are, with a $10 usb 2.5" drive caddy, he could have removed all of the data that he needed from the unencrypted hard drive. Or he could have booted into one of those nifty live cds with cracking tools installed.

I am worried about how many times this sort of thing happens and the person who commits the crime actually has a clue. I'd like to think that idiot thieves outnumber the smart ones 10:1, but It would not surprise me if the ratio was turned around.

Please Hold (4, Funny)

Trub68 (1140871) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091473)

"Hello tech support, yes I'll hold" KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK "Hmmm must be the pizza"

mother-lode (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21091481)

mother-lode
mother-lode

MCLOVIN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21091525)

He later swore up and down that all he wanted to do is print "McLovin" driver's licenses to sell on eBay.

Another story from 1993.. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21091531)

The Australian University of Newcastle Engineering Department once had a undergraduate lab of Sony NEWS BSD Unix workstations http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_NEWS [wikipedia.org] , possibly one of the first institutions in the country to roll out such a setup. As you may of guessed, the lab was soon broken into and several of the machines stolen.

About a week later, Sony Australia Support got a call.. from someone asking how they could install MSDOS onto the machines. The Rep handling the NEWS said they could courier and C.O.D replacement diskettes to the caller... got their address, and then said "Actually, could you do me a favour, and please return those stolen computers to the University of Newcastle..."

Yes, the Darwin Awards mention is accurate (2, Insightful)

VorpalEdge (967279) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091583)

I believe the intent is to say that he will end up as a Darwin Award winner in the future, even if he hasn't yet managed the feat.

He should have looked here first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21091621)

http://slashdot.org/articles/07/10/23/207205.shtml [slashdot.org]

Then he'd be better off.

Note To Non-Criminals -- Don't Call Tech Support (5, Insightful)

Lust (14189) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091631)

No one should call Tech Support - it's too frustrating.

Secret Service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21091633)

Anyone else wondering how the secret service got in on the call? I mean, I know they had a record of calls made by him by the number before, but when is it routine for customer service to forward that info the the FBI?

I mean, I get that the guy had priors but there seems to be a missing step between "guy calls customer service" and "secret service arrests guy" that's being glossed over.

Re:Secret Service (1)

dhasenan (758719) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092249)

A company that sells and services printers used to make state IDs has the secret service on speed dial. So if you get a random person calling up and asking for drivers for a particular unit, and you know that one of them has been stolen recently, and the guy is calling from a private line, you put him on hold and call the feds.

Re:Secret Service (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092501)

I'll rephrase it for you: "Guy calls customer service for a company that makes printers designed to print government-issued IDs, and customer service has been alerted that one of their printers has been reported stolen. Customer service forwards call log to government agency by request and they provide it to FBI and SS." This isn't like someone stealing an HP LaserJet -- there are a limited number of these printers in service, and the government tends to keep very good track of them.

Couldn't Unlock.. ?? (2, Insightful)

madsheep (984404) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091645)

Problem: he could not unlock the computer he stole and without the necessary drivers, he couldn't use the printer.
So um... how did he unlock the computer? I'm not quite following that part.

Re:Couldn't Unlock.. ?? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091691)

He didn't - then he tried to use the printer with another computer. Couldn't do that either.

Re:Couldn't Unlock.. ?? (1)

LaptopZZ (88619) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091703)

He used another computer, which is why he called the printer company's tech support line... to get the drivers for his other computer...

Re:Couldn't Unlock.. ?? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092499)

Sometimes posting to slashdot feels like that person frantically pushing the button on jeopardy - but they don't get selected. It's too bad the time stamps we see don't show down to say hundredths of a second so we could see just how close our posts were to one another.

Waaaiiit a minute... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21091719)

So the Secret Service just happened to be listening to the tech support line, hoping to recognize a criminal voice? I believe this is what they call a "buried lead" - the story should be, Secret Service Listens to Tech Support Lines. I assume, perhaps naively, that the secret service was listening in on the hope that their thief would call, and that they therefore had a warrant, but this un-addressed bit of the story is disturbing to me. My first question was "how did the Secret Service agent hear the voice to begin with?" Maybe he was moonlighting as a phone support monkey.

Re:Waaaiiit a minute... (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091801)

That is a good point: how exactly did they alert the Secret Service? Or did they?

Re:Waaaiiit a minute... (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092125)

That was my first thought as well. Why are tech support lines being monitored by the feds? I hope it went down like this:
  • Thief takes a specialized government owned printer
  • Some bright bulb in the Secret Service (SS) realizes that the thief might just call tech support
  • SS calls Digimark and asks if they could monitor the tech support lines for a few days
  • SS gets lucky.
rather than:
  • SS routinely monitors all calls to any tech support
  • SS also monitors calls made by telemarketers
  • SS owns massive voice matching software
  • SS flags any calls made on any cell or PSTN network, by caller's voice, keywords, etc

Re:Waaaiiit a minute... (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092289)


  Missouri Dept of Revenue computer. I believe the SS gets involved in all of these sorts of cases.

SB

Re:Waaaiiit a minute... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21092401)

This is why I've given up on Slashdot and come in here MAYBE once every other week. The innate need for a conspiracy to exist in multiple story descriptions per day, plus conspiracy comments, plus the general idiocy of comments, plus the factual problems with some stories, well..

It's a bad sign when Fark.com seems WAY more 'grounded'.

I mean, a user calls tech support because he can't unlock a locked device and he can't do anything to prove he actually is the legal owner of the equipment. The authorities get involved at the request of the company that provides the product and tech support.

OMG CONSPIRACY!

Re:Waaaiiit a minute... (1)

justasecond (789358) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092543)

general idiocy of comments

You're a fine one to talk...since when is the Secret Service "the authorities" to call when you think someone's trying to use a stolen printer?

Re:Waaaiiit a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21092413)

my closet run in with the SS was when my buddies setup a counterfeiting project. they weren't successful and the SS visited them. they were amazingly KIND about the multiple felonies incurred. granted, the individuals now are on unofficial probation (the kind where your name is in the system but no criminal charges exist).

all that to say my guess is that one of the requirements to own, rent, or lease such a machine is that you must report any theft or tampering. the SS does investigate a lot of crimes and counterfeiting money or IDs is probably their scope of federal law enforcement.

Re:Waaaiiit a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21092457)

This caught my eye too. Why was an agent of big brother monitoring tech support calls?
The printer theft might be a good reason, but that agent [likely] listened to hundreds of support calls.
Quality assurance my stately behind.

And my most paranoid thought:
Is this a feel-good story about nationwide wiretapping?

Hmm, still a Darwin Award contender imo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21091729)

...or at least he will be after 10 years in prison... won't ever go back... i mean, front :P

DAMN! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#21091741)

And here I thought getting printer drivers from HP was tough.

Re:DAMN! (2, Informative)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091877)

Naw, just a lengthy process...the 700mb printer driver downloads are a bit of a drag.

Gary Glitter (5, Interesting)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091769)

Reminds me a bit of former UK pop star Gary Glitter [wikipedia.org] . His career ended in tatters after a PC World technician discovered child porn on his PC while repairing it. Easily the best example of why criminals shouldn't call tech support (especially when you keep incriminating evidence on your bloody computer...)

Re:Gary Glitter (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092419)

I was in the office of the company that was handling his Christmas U.K. tour when the call came in, that was an interesting afternoon!

harsh (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091959)

10 years for stealing a printer? Seems a little harsh.

Just the tip of the (criminal element) iceberg? (3, Insightful)

uofitorn (804157) | more than 7 years ago | (#21091985)

This is funny and all. But I can't help but wonder how often this kind of thing goes on that we aren't aware of and is perpetrated by non-Darwin candidates. I mean, news is only "news" when it's interesting and unusual (given that it's usually reported by a for-profit institution).

Finally! (5, Funny)

kcarlin (99704) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092263)

A positive result from calling vendor tech support! And resolution in record time!

would've been caught anyhow (3, Insightful)

viscus (1178513) | more than 7 years ago | (#21092329)

Had he been able to get the printer working with his computer, he probably would've promptly made a posting to his local Facebook network reading: "HAY GUYS I CAN HOOK YOU UP W/ FAKE ID LOL" and been busted anyway.
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